LAKE ZURICH — Finishing boys soccer games has been a challenge for Stevenson this year, but versatile Patriot Ethan Marx changed that Saturday.
Marx scored the winning goal for Stevenson (4-5-4, 2-3-1 NSC Lake) in a 3-2 victory over Lake Zurich (8-6, 3-3), then concentrated on defense to hold off a flurry of Bear rushes and keep them from tying the game.
The impetus for the victory came early Saturday morning when the Patriots had breakfast together at 9 a.m. Coach Mark Schartner wanted to do some bonding and get the team past the spate of bad luck it had been enduring.
“I’ve been coaching for 70 years between boys, girls and college,” Shartner said. “I’ve never seen a team so snake bit. Today we finished.”
Marx put his personal stamp on the finish. With the scored tied at 2-2 for the final 10 minutes of the first half and the first 20 minutes of the second, he got free, took a pass from Jun Min and booted it in the net.
“I got a nice pass, took my time, kept my composure and put it in,” Marx said.
Shortly after scoring the goal, Marx, who played four different positions in the game, went to sweeper.
“I like to play center mid, but if I’m needed at sweeper I’ll go there,” Marx said. “When we play a team like Lake Zurich that has a strong attack, we had to finish.”
The Bears took six shots after intermission but none reached the back of the net.
“We possessed the ball really well,” Lake Zurich coach Mike Schmitz said. “We had one-two setups but we couldn’t put it in. Stevenson is not an easy opponent.”
During Lake Zurich’s scoreless second half, Collin Foreman had four attempts, including a free kick from 30 yards out after a foul, and set one up for Dan Ross. Jack Abry had one unassisted shot and passed to Foreman for one, as did Nate Rathe.
Stevenson took a 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal by Mitch Gullett in the game’s 12th minute, but the Bears came back to tie the game five minute later when Adam Swinehart scored after taking a pass from Jordan Fleita. Ten minutes later, Rathe gave Lake Zurich a 2-1 edge with an assist from Luke Kuhn.
“He led me with a drop pass real well,” Rathe said. “I was at midfield and saw the ball real well when I approached [the goal].”
The lead lasted four minutes before Patriot Dennis Katsman tallied an unassisted goal to tie the contest.